Jockson the box.
Today’s stand-up circuit is tomorrow’s TV sitcom. Who’s there already? Words: Brian Donaldson
Scotsman. But not a lot of people know that John Logie Baird was
an after-dinner raconteur whose routines were filled with blue humour and Ieftfield lunacy. Actually. this is pure conjecture, but one thing for sure is that The Scottish Comedy Unit has been responsible for a majority of the men and women who crop up on our TV.
It launched A Kick Up The 80s (starring Robbie Coltrane). City Limits (with Gerard Kelly) and Naked Video which eventually led to Rab C. Nesbitt. the most successful Scottish sitcom ever. Unless you count Rhona. which we won't.
But the biggest success stOry of recent years has undoubtedly been Chewin’ The Fat (see TV. page 93) which spawned catchphrases such ‘gonnae no' dae that'. ‘good guy; wank‘ and 'pish' (ah, the Wildean wit of it all). This modern day Scotch And Wry transcended its core base to have Our Anglo friends in similar stitches. lts successor to the Scottish sketch show crown. Velvet Soup. made a transition from radio to TV last summer with, to be kind. varying success.
It's highly unlikely that Tam Cowan will ever cross into mainstream Britannia but his footie quiz show Offside certainly has its fans here. For other folk. Only An Excuse is a better bet on capturing just why Scottish football is so ludicrously funny. Elaine C Smith has long been a star of stage and small screen but most will choose to forget about her chat show (we're still trying to do the same with McCoist And MacAulay) and ponder on her finest role as Mary Doll in Rab C. Nesb/tt.
The non-shortbread tartan version of Caledonia comedy can be traced back to the quasi-surrealists of Absolutely (which spawned a couple of notable spin-offs for Moray Hunter and Jack Docherty). and the card- playing Dundee-hater whose outrageous and often truly offensive wit found a natural home on Channel 5 with The People vs Jerry Sadowitz. Phil Kay and Bruce Morton have also made the leap from offbeat stand—up to offbeat television.
But the Scotsman who has had the biggest impact on British TV comedy tastes is Armando lannucci. Partly responsible for the stratospheric careers of Chris Morris and Steve Coogan. the Glasgow comic hosted the satirical Saturday Night Armistice and its later Friday version before producing one of the few truly inventive comedy shows from last year with The Armando lannucci Shows. Gonnae dae more 0’ that?
E veryone knows that the man who invented the telly was a
14 THE LIST lV-Iil Jan 2002
Scottish comedy is booming. The Stand has developed into a nightly institution, complementing a network of clubs including the new Jongleurs. So who are the laughtermakers?
Here’s our snapshot of
30 of the best.
Words: Maureen Ellis, Mark Fisher, Anna Millar, Henry Northmore, Louisa Pearson
Biog Allen began his career in London. doing the rounds as a comic poet. but as the percentage of jokes in his set increased. he made the leap to being a fully-fledged stand-up. He can now be found extending his poetic licence around Glasgow.
Career high 'Performing at the Carnival Against The Nazis in 94 in Brixton. which was then the largest anti-racist gathering in history'
Best heckle 'What're you drinking?‘ Humour snippet ‘You know when you look back on all the mad things you've done in your life. and it seems like it was SOmeone else? It doesn't work in COurt.'
Giggle-o-meter With the sow of a poet and the mouth of a stand-up. he‘s the thinking man's comedian.
Age 3 Biog Famous for his 50-word stories. Barnaby began by plying his trade at Open-floor reading events. before
moving on to comedy poetry night Rhymes And Misdemeanours at Edinburgh‘s Stand. The move to stand-up was accidental. but he has become a regular at the venue. Career high ‘Being described as “the undoubted star of the evening" in an Evening News review of the Stand's Red Raw night.‘
Best heckle 'He's got a book.’ Humour snippet His stories have titles such as ‘Bryan Ferry's Pigeons'. ‘My Parents Never Had Sex' and ‘Rabbits. Hedgehogs And Frogs.‘ Giggle-o-meter Perhaps not due on Jackanory any time soon. but wordsmith Barnaby is one of a kind.
Biog Boyle's Thursday compering slot has elevated him to cult status in Glasgow. and that means coming up with new material every week. Aggressive. to the point and a master of thinking on his feet. he is employed all over Britain and he MC-ed the Glasgow 2000 Hogmanay celebrations. A Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award winner in 1996. Frankie is one of five Scottish comedians chosen to perform in BBC1 Scotland's new flagship comedy product The Live Floor Show.